By TRAVIS HARTMAN
The Boxing Amusement Park
remember when Roy Jones Jr. played a minor-league basketball
game in June of 1996, a few hours before his fight against
Eric Lucas, just so he would have a challenge in the ring.
That still didn’t work, as Jones absolutely dominated his
no-named foe by 11th round stoppage.
He was the first
fighter I remember watching and knowing that nobody in the
world could touch this guy. He was my superman when it came
to boxing. I was never once worried when he fought. The only
thing I worried about was if he was ever going to be
He was like
the invisible man a year prior in his fight against Vinny
Pazienza. Jones Jr. was the first fighter to go an entire
round without his opponent landing a single blow since the
inception of CompuBox punch stats.
In the end, he
would leave the sport the best fighter of his era.
This is how
we would all write the story for our childhood favorite
professional athlete, right? Unfortunately professional
boxing can be just as cruel as the beatings a fighter once
handed out. Jones would have a small hiccup in March of ‘97
after getting disqualified for hitting Montell Griffin while
he was down. Not only was this his first loss, but it was
the first time Jones wasn’t well ahead on the scorecards as
well. But, with his superior confidence, he fought Griffin
again and knocked him out in the first round in his very
next fight—solidifying his dominance in boxing during the
seemingly began when Roy did what no man has ever done.: He
went up to heavyweight, from light heavyweight, to win the
WBA title in a unanimous decision in 2003 over “huggy bear”
John Ruiz. Jones then returned to the light heavyweight
division to shut Antonio Tarver’s mouth by a majority
decision in November of 2003, but was brutally knocked out
for the first time in his illustrious career in the second
round of their rematch in March of 2005. Jones was again
knocked out, this time by Glen Johnson, in another shocking
development. He then fought Tarver for a third time, losing
a lackluster unanimous decision.
It all really
becomes a blur for me after all this. Selfishly, I keep
wanting to see him rise again to be the dominant Jones Jr. I
remember. Instead we are subjected to watching the great Roy
Jones Jr. get knocked out by bums like Danny Green. Now,
four months shy of turning 42, Jones is scheduled to fight
in his home town against Danny Santiago, who has lost all
four of his matches by knockout.
In a career that
once saw him own every major belt from middleweight to a
historic heavyweight title, I am set to ponder what will
happen to his legacy, my superman. As they always say,
everything great has to come to an end, but when will the
end be for Jones Jr.?